Chapter Five

The Question Concerning a Particular Profound Boredom as the
Fundamental Attunement of Our Contemporary Dasein

§37. Reconsideration of the question concerning a profound
boredom as the fundamental attunement of our Dasein

Through this interpretation we have entered into a peculiar kind of knowing. We cannot ever reproduce the essential contents of this knowing in a formula, because it does not consist in the kind of accumulated knowledge which a lecture course on zoology or modern history may have given us over the same two months. In the sciences our listening takes us a step forward every hour; each day gives us a further cluster of notes and a few more sheets. Yet we have less each day, each hour we make less progress and have instead increasingly approached a standstill. Not only that, but we have perhaps worn through the ground we were standing on to begin with, we have perhaps reached a place that is groundless, and begun to float, entered an attunement. A mere attunement- and after so much effort. Indeed perhaps not even an attunement, but only the more transparent possibility of one, i.e., a receptivity for it, a receptivity that has grown, that has laid down roots in Dasein, so that Dasein can summon up the possibility of making this attunement possible, of being attuned. Indeed, if we have attained this and precisely this, namely a more transparent receptivity for this attunement -in whatever form-then this is already enough. It is something that we can never simply count as a result, something about which I could never, and should never, examine any of you.

We have only a more transparent receptivity for this attunement that we call boredom, and with this transparency we perhaps have an understanding of the fact that while it is easy to master boredom by busily passing the time, and thus perhaps to put on a show of a sound and worthy ability to cope with and master life, it is difficult not to be opposed to a profound boredom, difficult to let oneself be attuned through and through by it, so as to hear something essential from it. Yet if we understand this then we will certainly no longer believe that such a profound boredom could be ascertained or could be there simply through the fact that we talk about it, or could be there simply for us to talk about. This profound boredom only becomes awake if we do not counteract it.

Yet this very demand which measures up to the essence of the boredom originarily arising in Dasein and results directly from understanding it-this demand meets with mistrust precisely from us today. Not to counteract our

Martin Heidegger (GA 29/30) The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics